On Thursday, March 1st, Senator Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012. “Clean energy” is defined in this legislation as electricity generated from renewable energy resources, combined heat and power, natural gas, nuclear, and coal at a facility using carbon capture and storage technology. The clean energy standard (CES) begins at 24% in 2015 and increases by 3% a year to 84% in 2035. The CES only applies to large utilities, about 8% of utilities in 2015 and 13% in 2025. The majority of municipal and cooperative utilities are exempt. Utilities demonstrate compliance through clean energy credits, which are awarded based on the amount of carbon emissions per MWh of electricity generated. Failure to produce the necessary clean energy credits or pay the alternative compliance payment results in civil penalties equal to 200% of the alternative compliance payment for each kWh sold in violation of the standard. The CES is unlikely to gain much traction in Congress this election year, but Bingaman, who is retiring at the end of the year, wanted to introduce it to start a conversation on how the country can shift to cleaner sources of energy. View Two Page Overview or Section by Section Summary of legislation. View Senator Bingaman’s Floor Statement on legislation.